Is it true that I have to earn a minimum of $30,000 per year in order to purchase ACA insurance?

Q. Someone told me you have to earn a minimum of $30,000 per year in order to purchase Affordable Care Act insurance. Is this correct?

A. No. There are no income limits – upper or lower – for purchasing coverage through the Obamacare exchanges.

As long as you’re not eligible for Medicare, you can purchase a plan in the exchange, regardless of income. But subsidy eligibility is based on income and whether or not you have access to other coverage that is deemed affordable and meets the ACA’s minimum value requirements.

Some of the confusion surrounding this issue has to do with the 20 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the ACA. In those states, there’s a coverage gap; people with incomes below 100 percent of poverty level who don’t qualify for Medicaid under the stringent existing guidelines have no access to financial assistance with their health insurance. But they are not prohibited from purchasing health insurance in the exchange if they can afford to do so.

In short, subsidy eligibility is based on income, but eligibility to purchase a plan without subsidies has nothing to do with income.

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Related terms

ACA-compliant coverage

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Medicaid expansion

minimum essential coverage

open enrollment

premium subsidies